tv Politics Public Policy Today CSPAN September 4, 2014 9:45am-9:51am EDT
"the washington post" stories that was selected as a finalist for the 2002 pulitzer prize. he covered the september 11th attack on the pentagon, and also covered the fall of beryl -- of the berlin wall. he's actually currently working on a project on the history of berlin during the cold war, so maybe he has gone back in hi mind at least to the fall of berlin. a graduate of the college of william and mary with a degree in government, he received a master's degree in national public policy from john hopkins, so it's our pleasure to welcome steve vogel to the podium.
>> thank you very much. a great honor to be here, and thank you to the u.s. capital historical society and the white house historical sorry for including me in this great honor. i thought i would take on -- i thought i would take on the myth that the british marched to washington to avenge the burning of york or what is today toronto in canada. as i was starting to think about this paper back in april, i was wondering, do i really need to make this argument? do people still really think that? now that we're well into the bicentennial, i can tell you,
yes, people still really think this. in fact i'm kind of biased, because i do think t"the washington post" is our nation's finest newspaperened they have this terrific section called kids' posts. this was the headline a couple weeks ago. revenge hungry british set d.c. afire. the story tells us after americans set fire to new york, now toronto in canada, the british decided to do the same thing to washington. i know from experience if you don't make that claim in your stories or book or whatever, you'll hear from a load the readers or viewers who think otherwise. in fact there was something on cbs sunday morning the other day about the burning of washington, or at least the burning of the white house and the capitol. there was a viewer who
commented, why not disclose the reason the british burned the white house to your viewers? i'm surprised that you failed that mention that york was burned in 1812 and that the burning of washington was retaliation for that act. perhaps then the american viewers could hear the whole story. i suspect this guy is canadian, but -- and canadians have a right to be miffed about a lot of ways that americans remember this war, including perhaps who won the war, canadians likely have a better claim to that. and certainly many americans have forgotten that we actually invaded canadians territory as a part of this war multiple times, or much less, that we failed in those invasions. so the canadians certainly have their grievances. this idea of retal yags for york
is a myth, and i'm going to try to talk about that today. retaliation did not brings the british to washington. this gentleman admiral george coburn brought the british to washington. he was really one of the most remarkable figures in all of the war of 1812. as andrew lambert mentioned yesterday, he was a protege of nelson. he got his start in 1793 just when revolutionary france declared war on great britain, and he would rise high during the two decades of war that followed. early in his career he was assigned to a squadron where his -- he was commanded by a young captain named horacio nelson who took a great liking
to coburn finding in him, quohe served as a senior captain in nelson's squadron. trusts him with command in his absence telling him that, quote, we're so -- we think so exactly alike on points of service that if your mind tells you it is right, there can hardly be a doubt, but i must approve. so in 1812, at the relatively young age of 40, cockburn reaches flag rank, and the admirality in london looking for a new assignment for him with things calming down in the mediterranean decides to send him across the ocean to north america. now, the first months of the war had not been exactly stellar for the royal navy. you know, as we heard from previous speakers, whether and how significant the